Bertha Justice Fellowship: 2022 Application Package

September 22, 2021

Apply by 

October 5, 2021

Description 

The Center for Constitutional Rights is hiring four Bertha Justice Fellows, for 9/2022-9/2024.

The Bertha Justice Fellowship at the Center for Constitutional Rights is a two-year program for emerging lawyers (0-2 years out of law school) who are interested in gaining both practical experience working on cutting-edge social justice litigation and a theoretical understanding of how legal advocacy can create social change. The Center for Constitutional Rights will host four Bertha Justice Fellows, starting in September 2022. This position requires a two-year commitment from September 2022 to September 2024.

The 2022 Bertha Justice Fellows will have an opportunity to work on a broad range of our cases and projects challenging oppressive and intersecting systems of power -- including challenging racial oppression, gender oppression including hetero-patriarchy, economic oppression and abusive state power. Our work focuses on racial justice, immigrant rights, combating mass incarceration and economic inequality, gender justice and the struggle for LGBTQI+ liberation, international human rights, protecting the right to dissent and the struggle to free Palestine, and addressing government overreach, including the Guantánamo detentions, surveillance and Muslim profiling. CCR is opening a Southern Regional Office this year, and the Bertha Justice Fellows will also contribute to help build the power of southern regional movements to fight white supremacy and other forms of oppressive power.

For descriptions of our current cases, issues or projects, including Al Otro Lado v. U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Alobahy v. Trump, Al Qahtani v. Trump, Al-Shimari v. CACI, Ashker v. Governor of California, Austin Sanctuary Network v. Mayorkas, Belton v. Gautreaux, Black Love Resists in the Rust v. City of Buffalo, Bronner v. Duggan, Diamond v. Ward, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, Floyd v. City of New York, Furlow v. Belmar, Lopez v. NYC Dept. of Homeless Services, Migrant Justice v. Nielsen, No More Deaths FOIA, Puente v. Arizona State Legislature, Ramapough Mountain Indians v. Township of Mahwah, Scott v. Pennsylvania Bd of Probation & Parole, Silber v. Airbnb, State v. Henry, State v. Allen, Tanvir v. Tanzin, Turkmen v. Ashcroft, and White Hat v. Landry, check out: http://www.ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/active-cases.

Bertha Justice Fellows are sponsored by the Bertha Foundation which hosts emerging lawyers at several legal organizations across the world. In addition to gaining legal experience on our cases, Bertha Justice Fellows will have opportunities to (1) attend regional and international meetings, (2) network with lawyers from around the world and (3) receive additional mentoring and non-traditional training such as leadership, media and advocacy, activism and movement building.

BERTHA JUSTICE FELLOW ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Work with staff attorneys in conceiving, developing and managing complex litigation that advances our organizational mission, including developing case theory, conducting factual and legal research, identifying appropriate clients, pursuing appropriate and strategic litigation opportunities and filing claims in domestic and international fora.
  • Work with staff attorneys in all aspects of litigation, including drafting pleadings, briefs, affidavits and correspondence; assist attorneys in their taking and defending depositions; assist attorneys in managing complex discovery, conducting negotiations with opposing counsel, appearing in court and examining witnesses; assist attorneys in negotiating, implementing and monitoring settlement agreements.
  • Work with staff attorneys and Advocacy Program Managers in the development and implementation of advocacy strategies in support of our clients, cases and/or projects. Engage in public outreach and education efforts including drafting or reviewing of advocacy materials (such as reports, FAQs, Action Alerts), participation in legislative efforts, and public speaking. Engage with community groups, cooperating attorneys, co-counsel, progressive lawyers, law students, legal groups and other allies as appropriate and directed by supervising attorneys.
  • Support all aspects of the communications department activity including reviewing press materials, responding to press inquiries, appearing in various media interviews, timely opinion drafting, review and editing as appropriate.
  • Work with and supervise student interns and volunteers; where appropriate support work of pro bono or cooperating counsel assisting on our cases and projects.
  • Assist development department in managing individual and foundation relationships, including development and review of grant proposals, participation in donor meetings, fundraising and donor appreciation activities, and periodic out-of-state travel for development trips and activities.
  • Participate in Bertha Justice Network activities, including attendance at Bertha Justice Network conferences abroad, publication of materials, including blogs for the Bertha Justice Network.
  • Participate in trainings designed for the Bertha Justice Fellows to strengthen their litigation and movement lawyering skills.
  • Participate in departmental and organizational planning and organization-wide committees and carry out work assigned.
  • Obtain bar membership in New York and maintain good standing in New York and other state bars as appropriate, including fulfilling requirements for continuing legal education (CLE) and where necessary, security clearance.
  • Other related work as requested by the Legal Director.
  • Center for Constitutional Rights staff have primarily been working remotely since spring, 2020. By September 2022, we expect that staff will be engaged in a combination of remote and in-person work, assuming it is safe to do so.

 EXPERIENCE & QUALIFICATIONS

  • J.D. degree, or comparable LL.M degree as of start date. 
  • This program is meant for early-career lawyers, someone who is 0-2 years post receipt of their law degree. This means you received your Juris Doctor in 2020, 2021 or will receive it in 2022.
  • Commitment to the mission and goals of the Center for Constitutional Rights. 
  • A demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
  • Excellent research, writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Self-starter with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Proven ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and human rights and creativity in crafting strategies to advance justice in our priority areas.
  • Commitment to working in and with communities affected by government misconduct and discrimination among other structures of institutional oppression.
  • Integrity and a sense of humor.
  • Willingness to travel, when and if travel is safe.
  • Non-English language skills a plus.

COMPENSATION: Salary is commensurate with experience and subject to union collective bargaining agreement.  The current salary range for this position is $71,856 to $86,393.

Benefits include employer contribution to 401K plan and flexible spending account, vacation, sick leave, and holidays, and 100 percent organization paid health benefits, including medical, dental, life, short and long-term disability insurance.

HOW TO APPLY: Qualified candidates should visit https://ccrjustice.wufoo.com/forms/bertha-justice-fellow-2022/ to submit an online application. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and strong consideration will be given to early applications. No phone calls please.

Applications are strongly encouraged from candidates reflecting diverse educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds. CCR is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and we encourage applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI+ and gender non-conforming people.

Note: Due to the large number of applications we expect to receive, we will only contact those applicants who are selected for an interview.

APPLICATION TIMELINE:

The deadline for submission is October 5, 2021.
Recommendation letters are due by October 12, 2021.
Interviews for selected candidates will occur in November and early December 2021.
We expect to make Fellowship offers by January 2022.
Position will begin in mid-September, 2022.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  1. Resume
  2. Essay: Maximum length: 1,000 words, double-spaced. Effective essays will incorporate the following information:
    1. What unique background, beliefs, values and/or experiences (personal and professional) shaped your decision to go to law school and your interests in participating in the Bertha Justice Fellowship program at the Center for Constitutional Rights?
    2. Please describe your specific interest in CCR’s work, including which of our areas of focus you would most like to work on.
    3. How do you expect participation in the Bertha Justice Fellowship program at CCR to contribute to your long-term personal and professional goals?
    4. What is your understanding of CCR’s goals and needs, and how do you see yourself contributing to our effectiveness? Describe how your education, experience, and skills match our needs and goals.
  3. Legal writing sample excerpt (not to exceed 10 pages) - At the top of your writing sample, provide a 2-sentence description of the writing sample.
  4. Names and contact information for three (3) references (two can be the same as the individuals who wrote your letter of recommendation).
  5. Two letters of recommendation submitted via email to berthafellowsearch@ccrjustice.org.
    1. Letters must be received by October 12, 2021 to be considered.
    2. Your recommender must put the following information in their e-mail subject line:
      “Fellow’s Last Name, First Name Letter of Recommendation”

QUESTIONS? Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

APPLICATION CHECKLIST

Along with completing the online form, please upload your application at https://ccrjustice.wufoo.com/forms/bertha-justice-fellow-2022/ as ONE SINGLE PDF FILE. A complete application will upload a PDF of the following documents in the order listed below:

Resume
Essay
Legal Writing Sample
Three Reference Names and Contact Information

Please have your recommenders send their letters via e-mail to berthafellowsearch@ccrjustice.org

Two Letters of Recommendation

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS TO THE 2022 BERTHA JUSTICE FELLOWSHIP POSITIONS:

What does 0-2 years of experience mean?  This program is meant for early-career lawyers and by that we mean someone who is 0-2 years post receipt of your JD or LLM degree.  In other words, the minimum requirement (0 years) is that you have completed your degree and have taken the Bar exam by the time you start the position in September 2022. Applicants who completed their degree in 2021 and 2020 are also eligible. We will not consider applicants who graduated from law school in 2019 or earlier. Bertha Justice Fellow positions are limited to individuals who are 0-2 years out of law school, and does not depend on years of practice experience.

I don’t have my JD yet.  Can I apply? Yes, the Bertha Justice Fellow positions are open to candidates who will have a JD degree as of the start date of the fellowship in September 2022.

I am still waiting on my bar results. Can I apply?  Yes, as long as you will have taken your bar exam by September 2022, you are welcome to apply.  If you have failed the Bar exam you must be willing to retake it.

Do I need to be admitted to the New York Bar? No, as long as you are admitted to another state that is fine.  It is also ok if you are awaiting your Bar results.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply for a Bertha Justice Fellow position? You certainly can apply for a Bertha Fellows position as a non-US citizen. Please note that we have a very strong preference for someone with a JD or an LLM, so that they may be able to practice in the United States.

Does the Bertha Justice Fellow position at CCR require being based in New York? Yes, the program is based in New York City. While CCR staff are still primarily working from home, we anticipate returning to the office, at least part-time, by the time the 2022 Fellows start.

Is there flexibility on the timing, for example if I cannot start until October 2022 or I would prefer to start over the summer? There is limited flexibility on the timing of the Bertha Justice Fellows start date.  Please indicate in your cover letter potential conflicts.  Should you be considered for a position, this can be discussed with the search team and fair agreement can be reached.

What is the relationship between the Bertha Justice Fellows and the Bertha Justice Network? The Bertha Justice Fellows are part of the Bertha Justice Network, a ​vibrant​ ​network​ ​of​ ​radical​ ​social​ ​justice​ ​and​ ​movement​ ​lawyers​ ​that spans​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and​ ​is​ ​comprised​ ​of​ ​Bertha Justice​ ​Fellows​ ​and​ ​Alumnx,​ ​Bertha​ ​Justice​ ​Partners​ ​who​ ​host​ ​and​ ​train​ ​Fellows,​ ​and​ ​our​ ​other​ ​legal​ ​grantees and​ ​friends​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Foundation.​ ​

I interned at CCR, can my supervisor serve as one of my references or write my letter of recommendation? That is up to you. We have a preference for letters from folks outside CCR, but if your most significant supervision was by a CCR lawyer or Advocacy Program Manager, you should feel free to ask them.

I heard that Bertha Fellows are hired to work in a particular “docket” at CCR, do I have to specify a docket in my application? No. In prior years, CCR hired Fellows to work in one of our three dockets: Government Misconduct & Racial Justice, International Human Rights, and the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative. We no longer organize our work in this way. Instead, you should specify in your application any subject areas you are particularly interested in.

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, we have taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach.

Too often, the law supports systems of power that violate our most fundamental rights and prevent people from living with dignity. We use creative and aggressive legal strategies against the most virulent forms of oppression to push the law to meet the demands of justice. Our advocacy work complements litigation to build power where it’s most needed, among communities who have been pushed to the margins. Through strategic communications, we shift the dominant narratives that normalize rights violations and increase public support for our efforts.

Our approach is holistic, fearless, and relentless. By partnering with communities fighting for social justice and centering their struggles for liberation, we are able to transform systems, policies, and public narratives. In 2012, CCR launched the Bertha Justice Fellowship to deepen our work training the next generation of “people’s lawyers.”

ABOUT THE BERTHA FOUNDATION AND THE BERTHA JUSTICE INITIATIVE

The Bertha Foundation fights for a more just world. We support activists, storytellers, and lawyers who are working to bring about social justice and equal rights for all. The Bertha Foundation envisions a society in which activists build collective power, stories come from many different voices, and law is used as a tool for justice.

When activists, storytellers, and lawyers work together on an issue, big change can happen.

While powerful on their own, we have learned that - if given the resources to connect and collaborate - their combined power is much greater than the sum of its parts. We create and respond to opportunities for our network to work together and exchange strategies to amplify.

The Bertha Justice Fellowship Program is training the next generation of human rights and movement lawyers in pursuit of social justice and human rights for all. Funded by the Bertha Foundation, which fights for a more just world by supporting activists, storytellers, and lawyers, the Program provides two-year fellowships to emerging lawyers at the best social justice and movement law centers around the world. During the Fellowship, Fellows gain practical experience working alongside renowned professionals and build connections with a global network of like-minded Fellows and senior lawyers for solidarity and mentorship. Fellows get exposure to movement lawyering, in which lawyers are deeply connected with social movements and work collaboratively with activists to define legal strategies, and to the use of media as a tool to advance legal advocacy campaigns. In the next ten years, the Bertha Justice Fellowship Program aims to train 1,000 lawyers, who are motivated to work alongside storytellers and activists to hold states and corporations to account

 

Updated: September 22, 2021